First Look - Kali Protectives' Shiva

Feb 25, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  

Kali DOT-certified Shiva DH helmet 2014

Kali Protectives showed Pinkbike early prototypes of its 2014 Shiva DH lid at the last Taipei bicycle show in raw carbon. Kali founder and designer Brad Waldron told PB's Mike Kazimer there that Kali was pushing for DOT certification - a difficult test which requires in part, that the helmet survives being bashed with a series of blunt and pointed projectiles from various angles, with a measured amount of force. DOT certification is not a requirement for DH bicycle helmets, but because the speed and intensity of downhill riders approaches that of their moto counterparts, Waldron committed Kali's design team to produce a lighter, well ventilated full-face, with a slim profile, that could pass the same level of testing that their motorcycle helmets are required to meet. The Shiva, which is scheduled to arrive this summer, successfully achieved all four goals - and it looks pretty sharp, with integrated graphics that are a refreshing leap from tattoo culture to simpler, bolder racing lines. MSRP is set at $499 USD, and Waldron states that the DOT-certified Shiva will weigh under 1000 grams when Kali releases it for sale.


Kali's DOT-certified Shiva is dramatically
smaller than their DOT-certified Motocross helmet.

Details:

• Purpose: DH racing, gravity sports.
• Certification: ATSM and DOT (EU certification is pending).
• Construction: Carbon fiber shell, in-molded Composite Fusion-3 dual-density liner, washable liner and cheek pads.
• Ventilation: 20 vents, 8 exhaust and 12 intake ports.
• Visor: adjustable, with replaceable breakaway insert
• Accessories: larger cheek pads, spare visor, PVO camera/light mount kit (fits insert in visor), carry bag.
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large and X-large
• Weight: Stated: 999 grams for production (actual weight for trial-production model: 1040 grams)
• MSRP: $499 USD
• Available: Summer 2014
• Contact: Kali Protectives


Kali DOT-certified Shiva DH helmet 2014
  Shiva helmets have a stiff carbon chin protector with an I-beam profile for strength. The nose-piece is taller and beefier than the one on Kali's 2013 Avatar 2 full-face. A decal on the rear of the Shiva proclaims its DOT certs.



The Shiva's wide cutout provides unobstructed
peripheral vision and fits oversize, ski-type goggles.The
rear of the helmet features a number of L-shaped and
oval exhaust vents that are smaller than those on Kali's
Avatar full-face helmet.
Shiva Construction

The new Shiva is a completely different helmet than Kali's current premier DH model, the Avatar Carbon 2. The shell is more rounded at the back, with a pair of ridges running parallel on the top, where the Avatar-2 has a single fin and is more pointed in the rear. That said, the length and width of the two helmets are nearly identical. The venting strategy is also changed, presumably to shift the rear vents to stronger positions in order to pass DOT protocols. A rubber strip under the brow of the new helmet has air intakes that use the high pressure zone created by the goggles and visor to direct cooling air into channels under the internal padding. A number of L-shaped and ovalized slots in the rear of the shell act as exhaust vents. The Shiva's chin protector is much more substantial than the Avatar as well, with a pronounced I-beam profile to add strength with a minimal increase in weight, and the front-piece is taller and wider too. Peripheral vision tests validate that the only impediment to the rider's complete range of vision will be due to goggle selection and on that subject, the new Kali will accept oversized, ski-style goggles. The visor is new also, with a wider shape and more rounded bill. Kali's thumb-screw visor adjustment is integrated into a break-away insert that can be switched out with a camera mount kit that is included with the helmet, along with a spare insert and an extra visor.

Inside, Kali uses molded cheek pieces made from slow-memory foam so they will conform to individual facial profiles and feel snug without undue pressure. The beautifully crafted, washable liner snap-fits into the shell and has generous cavities for the ears - a nice touch which ensures that those who wear glasses under goggles will not have the earpieces forced against their temples. The padded retention system is the simple D-ring standard. Kali is working on adapting the Eject insert for the new Shiva, an update which is scheduled for all future helmets, although our first-production model was not equipped with it. For those unfamiliar with the Eject helmet removal system, it is a pneumatic bladder inserted into the helmet that is inflated in an emergency situation to extract the rider's head from the helmet while minimizing trauma to the neck, head or spine.

Key to the Shiva's low weight and super-slim profile is Kali's third-generation Composite Fusion-3 EPS liner. The dual-density liner is molded with a layer of tri-sided pyramids that reportedly interact with the second EPS layer to dissipate impact energy laterally, throughout the liner. Kali has been experimenting with various shapes and arrangements of its Composite Fusion liner, and they discovered that the tri-sided spikes were notably more effective. Using the CF-3 EPS liner, in addition to molding the liner directly into the carbon fiber shell, increased the helmet's impact survivability to the extent that Kali was able to reduce the thickness of the combined liner and shell by over 30 percent, when compared its conventional DOT certified full-face helmets. The new Shiva measures only 9.1 inches wide in the medium/large size (231mm). A smaller, lighter helmet not only looks better, but it stores less inertia, so it puts less stress on the neck when the rider is pounding over rough ground - or when surviving a high-speed yard sale.

On the subject of weight, our large-sized test-production helmet weighed 1040 grams - 41 grams over Kali's 999-gram target for its Summer 2014 release date. While 1040 grams is light for a DOT certified full-face helmet. The Shiva's predecessor, the non-DOT certified Avatar Carbon 2, weighs a scant 840 grams in the medium shell size, which indicates that Kali should have no problem making good on its promise.


Kali DOT-certified Shiva DH helmet 2014
  The insert at the rear of the Shiva's visor is the breakaway mount. A camera mounting kit is included that snaps into the visor. Vents under the rim of the helmet face direct cooling air, pressurized by the goggles and visor into channels inside the helmet.


First Impressions

bigquotesMany gravity riders prefer the extra protection of a DOT-certified Motocross helmet and, up to now, had to trade the extra measure of security for added bulk and weight. Kali's Shiva provides moto-level protection in a well-ventilated, lightweight and compact package that is truly a downhill helmet. On the bike, the Shiva stays cool, but it doesn't feel quite as well vented as the Avatar-2, which ranks at the top of the list for comfort. Kali says they will offer three shell sizes, each with liners in two thicknesses. The large-sized shell with Kali's size-medium padding fit my head snugly and I usually wear a medium or a small/medium in popular helmet sizes. Inside, the liner presses evenly around the skull and the fit is snug enough to keep the Shiva from moving independently from the head without putting undue pressure on it. DH riders who go big will surely like the new Shiva. Compared to a moto helmet, it feels like there is almost nothing on your head. The question that begs to be answered now is: when the DOT-approved Shiva arrives this Summer, will gravity riders be tempted to use it when they take their Motos out? I probably would. - RC




96 Comments

  • + 31
 shiva kamini soma kandarkram!!!!!
  • + 1
 ^Reference of the day right there. Laughed so hard!
  • + 27
 Massive improvement Kali. This design looks way better than your others. Weight is really good and this 3 composite fustion stuff sounds plausible. I'm impressed!
  • + 15
 Are they willing to acknowledge that in some crahes riders might be safer with a CPSC helmet?
  • + 27
 Definitely. Kali was one of the first helmet makers to acknowledge that a slightly less rigid helmet can reduce the posibility of a concussion. The Shiva actually incorporates that aspect in its design.
  • + 15
 Id like to hear more about how they do that, how can it be certified at a higher level yet still provide the less rigid qualities?
Be good if you have some references and details about that
  • + 2
 I'd be interested in hearing how they do that as well. Wasn't the point of so many article about helmets in the past- if they are hard enough to pass DOT, then they are too hard for biking. I know little over simplified, but you get my point.
  • + 6
 Composite Fusion Three technology bonds the shell directly to the foam, this allows a thinner less rigid shell.
  • + 1
 That's part of the DOT approval process as well... rate of deceleration. The fact that they're addressing that issue speaks volumes on the process behind the development of their helmets.
  • + 10
 Stepping onto my soap box for a second, what I think needs to be started is a grassroots movement to change helmet testing. The standards are old, we know so much more about TBIs then when they were written.

There is no reason they can't have crash test dummy heads in these helmets and provide the consumer much more information which would also drive better development. Right now a pass or fail test tells you very little.

Having test results like the IIHS does for cars would help us know just how much better one helmet is over another.

It would also make it hard to charge $400 plus for a helmet that doesn't perform any better than a $150 one.
  • + 12
 Well said, we agree
  • + 1
 Agreed, I would like to see helmets tested in actual mountain bike crash simulations. How will a helmet perform in a rock garden crash vs a straight ground impact
  • + 8
 I've been using a variety of Kali products over the past 4 years and I have to say that their constant evolution, product development an quality/durability of products is first class. if you are looking for safety, protection and durability you are in the right zone with Kali. higher end helmets come with a quality hard and soft carry bag with extra inserts and replacement (snap off) visor. the guys in sales/support are available, accessible, and will fix any quality/reliability issues, and quickly too

one very happy Kali customer right here. every one of my riding friends who've been introduced to Kali products by myself are also very happy with fit, price, durability etc

great work Brad and the guys. best wishes for the long term, you are a real credit to the MTB world
  • + 8
 I own a Kali helmet and I must say, the breakaway visor feature has saved my visor from breaking countless times. Kinda disappointed that my TLD doesn't have it.
  • + 1
 Seems like a very important safety thing as well, I would imagine that a big ol visor hanging in front of your face could put a lot of twisting/rotational force into your head if you hit at an angle.
  • + 1
 Normal visor will just break on impact, it isn't strong enough plastic to create a twisting situation on impact. The bummer is if you have a nice TLD or something and you crash and snap the visor, you either have to ghetto fix it, or buy a matching replacement. Huge hassle that is easily prevented by that breakaway.
  • + 3
 Shiva - The Cannabis God Shiva wandered off into the fields after an angry discourse with his family. Drained from the family conflict and the hot sun, he fell asleep under a leafy plant. When he awoke, his curiosity led him to sample the leaves of the plant. Instantly rejuvenated, Shiva made the plant his favorite food and he became known as the Lord of Bhang.
  • + 1
 en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva
Shiva is NOT the cannabis god....
  • + 4
 Actually he is a 100% correct of the Shiva myth about wandering into the field . Many Indian art pieces depict Shiva consuming bhang in drinks and eating the leaves.
  • + 3
 If you look at a comparable helmet, the D6, its $700 now. The foam shape and the way its attached to the shell have much better impact absorption than any TLD or Bell helmet has availble yet. These helmets are dialed and top quality. I have almost every brand of helmet tried within the last 3 years. The only one I buy now is Kali until someone can beat it.
  • + 1
 Your right! The foam and the shell being one piece is incredible. I have said it before...NONE of us would ride a XC or Trail Helmet that wasn't "in-molded" why would you ride a full face that has tape or glue holding the foam to the shell? How does TLD do it?
  • + 1
 Glue on my D2, yes it has come loose, and no TLD wont warranty it.
  • + 2
 While I love Kali's style and fit, I was sorely disappointed in the overall quality and details of my Avatar 2. I've had it for two years, however within a few weeks the trim was coming unglued and falling off, and not long thereafter the visor bolts stripped out, some of the screens fell out, and one of the buttons holding the pads fell off. I fixed most of it myself with hot-glue, but for a $400 helmet, I would have expected more.

It should be noted that I emailed Kali about it, and they responded with "the product and quality of our helmets has since improved". If I'm able to find a helmet of different brand that fits as well, I won't be buying another Kali.

Apologies for the negative comment, but when posting a product review, PB can expect personal product reviews in the comments.
  • + 25
 We would like to make this right, please email sales@kaliprotectives.com
  • + 1
 Emailed - thanks.
  • + 8
 And delivered - free replacement helmet and t-shirt to boot!
  • + 2
 I have been running Kali full face helmets for about 5-6 years now. used to run the avatar for downhill had 2 or 3 Prana's over probably 4 years since then for dh and moto. After 11 years of riding and taking yard sales occasionally involving my head its become quite paramount to me to minimize the effects of header's. I really trust that i'm getting the utmost protection from my Prana, speaking from the experience of having crashed hard in many of these (and other) helmets i can surely say that the composite fusion plus and extremely light weight not to mention the good viewing area and ultracomfortable inner pads really make the best of an unfortunate over the bars excursion. I cant wait to take it to the edge while wearing the Shiva!
  • + 6
 SHIVA!!! Best named product of the year
  • + 3
 Dunno if I would want to don a helmet named for a 7 day wake after the passing of an immediate family member.
  • + 1
 Of course it just may be named after the Hindu god. Destroyer of the universe! (Not necessarily a bad thing. It needs recreating every aeon or two.)


Who is Shiva?

Shiva is the third god in the Hindu triumvirate. The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world. The other two gods are Brahma and Vishnu.

Brahma is the creator of the universe while Vishnu is the preserver of it. Shiva's role is to destroy the universe in order to re-create it.
... and to cite the reference:
(www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/deities/shiva.shtml)
  • - 1
 I'm aware of the double meaning of the word. I still wouldn't wear it!
  • + 1
 good Lord is this for real? or satire?
  • + 2
 Probably, gnarbar, of gnarnia, and probably not 13...

Kali (which I always assumed was named after the vernacular for the state in which it is headquartered) has used the spelling of its name (shared with the goddess) and made the marketing decision to name helmets after Hindu dieties and concepts. Don't know why someone wouldn't wear one though Rob. Why not?
  • + 1
 'Cause I know little about Hindu deities but have a number of Jewish friends… call me superstitious, but I wouldn't wear a lid that made me think of a wake every time I threw it on.
  • + 2
 Some people complain about the price, but mid crash before your head smashes into those oncoming rocks, how mush value would you put on having proper brain function for the rest of your life? Some people would spend more on a ipad that will be worthless in a couple of years. It is always nice to remember no-one plans the accident that is about to happen.
  • + 1
 or spend countless green backs high grade dope to smoke after riding. Priorities all askew. The real drug of choice is adrenaline You are correct dirtybikejapan! My brain is worth it!
  • + 5
 I think that helmet looks great!
  • + 2
 These guys make an amazing product. It's light. It's well designed. They're actually pretty incredible. I'm trying to get my hands on one of their snow helmets for next season.
  • + 6
 Pretty sick hey
  • + 2
 Beautiful work! SO SO SO SO Light. I got mine last week and it is incredible. I love the new color scheme on the one posted in this article!
  • + 1
 I know this helmet is DOT certified, but would it be just as safe as a Motocross hemet for Motocross racing or Trail riding? And as safe as a regular DOT motorcycle helmet for Street riding?
  • + 1
 I had a fall wearing a Kali chakra lid, the visor snapped shifted down and cut off a nice portion of my right ear. never again!
  • + 3
 Squid lid in the second pic.
  • + 2
 I'll finally retire my The INdustries for one of these vastly imporved Kalis'
  • + 1
 What's the difference between a DOT-certifiied MTB helmet and a moto helmet?
  • + 1
 at the cost of 500usd, Id be too afraid to ride with that thing! Just incase I scratch it...
  • + 2
 I have a 5k rig and I ride it, scratch it and plow it. A knight then in shiny armor has never extolled the glory of battle!
  • + 1
 Would you rather be seen on an URGE? lol
  • + 1
 Well it's a lot less ugly than any of their older helmets
  • + 1
 Nice shape but way too much Kali logo.
  • - 2
 I stopped reading after l saw that the MSRP is $499
  • - 2
 Same here, I imagine it will have to be discounted pretty heavily before people would buy it over other brands.
  • + 4
 How much is your head worth? Price is in line with other high end bike helmets with less technology and lower than high end DOT
  • + 0
 661 helmets are like, 200 bucks for their best one
  • + 0
 He's from Canada, doesn't have to worry. Here CT scans are $1000 bucks a pop, and they give you two most times. It's a deal in the States.
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